Nigeria’s transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday said the Igbos did not benefit from the support they gave to former president, Goodluck Jonathan.
Mr. Amaechi said this in Ikeja, Lagos, at a forum held to discuss the importance of social media in the polity.
Mr. Amaechi, who commented on the support the former president enjoyed from the Igbo people, said Mr. Jonathan failed them in spite of his numerous promises.
“The Igbos gave Jonathan support, what did he do for you?” Mr. Amaechi asked, rhetorically.
“Of course!” he said in response to chant of “Nothing!” by some members of the audience.
“President Jonathan went to Onitsha and danced and promised to construct Onitsha bridge. Right? After that nothing happened,” he said.
“Now we are fixing the bridge without making promise. Or did we promise to construct Onitsha bridge? I didn’t hear him (Mr. Buhari) say he would construct Onitsha bridge during the campaign…except someone spoke on his behalf.
“Today we are constructing the second bridge…which is the River Niger bridge,” Mr. Amaechi said.
The former Rivers state governor who served on the umbrella of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, said that party stalwarts from the south east region should be ashamed that they were seeing the president five times in a day and they could not get the road constructed.
“The relevance of a politician is not determined by how much he has in his pocket. It is determined by how much development he is able to bring…,” he said.
“The Port Harcourt-Owerri road was terrible. One day I made the mistake as governor to try to go to Owerri and I passed through Aba. I wept. Now we are constructing that road; it may not be at the speed that you want but we are constructing the road. The next road I mentioned is the Enugu-Onitsha.
“We are doing Port Harcourt-Enugu, the most important road to the Igbo. The next most important road to the Igbo is Enugu to Onitsha, and he (Mr. Buhari) is doing it again… So who is better?
“The last man you people were dancing with at Onitsha bridge that promised you people that ‘Azikiwe commissioned this bridge and the second Azikiwe commissioned it again’ and never put a stone and the man who doesn’t talk at all… who didn’t make promise and he is doing it, which one do you prefer?”
“Don’t be deceived by those who depended on government alone for survival,” he said.
On internal wrangling within the ruling APC, he said it was expected because the party, being the ruling party, has huge number of members, especially in states where elections are being held.
Commenting on a question on whether Mr. Buhari will be accepted by people in the Northeast or not, Mr. Amaechi explained that the people of the region who have been liberated from the violence of Boko Haram now appreciate the president better.
He specifically mentioned the people of Maiduguri who, according to him, have regained a new life since the president took over.
He also noted that the turn out would be higher than what they experienced in 2015 if the president decides to visit the region in 2017.
On corruption, Mr. Amaechi said the only way the government could tackle the menace is if it jailed those caught in the act.
“The only way to solve corruption in Nigeria is if you send ten rich men to jail,” he said.
“That is the key to fighting corruption.”